I tend to be the kind of person to online shop quite excessively, though in my own defense most of the time it is browsing rather than buying. This past week I came across a fantastic find! I happened to discover some socks with Sandro Botticelli‘s “The Birth of Venus” on them!
And, this find made me remember how much I enjoyed this painting when I first learned about it. Botticelli was an Italian painter during the early Renaissance (here’s my interest in the Renaissance creeping up yet again). “The Birth of Venus” was painted in the in the mid 1480’s. Venus, the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty is shown in the center of the painting. She is displayed in a nude modesty pose standing on a scallop shell. On the right of Venus is the goddess of Spring, Pomona, and to the right of Venus is Zephyrus, the god of winds. And, Zephyrus is carrying a nymph, Chloris, a mythological spirit who inhabits locations on land.
This painting was classified as Neo-Platonic, which in simple terms refers to the artist using the works of Plato’s philosophy and relates it to Christian society. Sticking with the subject matter of the era, Botticelli related Venus to the Virgin Mary who in this case is becoming pure again. He was the first to paint mythological depictions based upon historical accounts, which was highly ground-breaking especially during the Renaissance era.
I think I am highly interested in this piece simply for the composition and color palette. The piece is set up in a story telling manner, and whether the viewer knows what to look for or not, they can picture a story emerging either way. There is something unfolding about this painting. And, I love the pastel colors the most; they are beyond beautiful and rich and really work for the piece. They definitely set a mood of delicacy and calmness.
The painting really creates a sense of the nautical too, which always seems to be a theme in most of my own artistic works. Perhaps that is why this specific Botticelli work is appealing to me!